Thailand coach Kiatisuk Senamuang wants his side to finish their 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup Group B campaign with victory over Myanmar on Saturday evening.
Having claimed 2-1 and 3-2 wins in their opening two games over Singapore and Malaysia respectively, the War Elephants are already through to the semi-finals ahead of Saturday’s final match at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
On the other hand, Myanmar – with just one point to their name – will need to beat the Thais and hope for a favourable result in the other match between Singapore and Malaysia.
Although many expect Thailand to rest a few key players ahead of the semis, Kiatisuk insists their desire to land a first AFF crown since 2002 will ensure they do not take their foot off the pedal.
“We want to play our best in every match and aim to get the maximum points,” the legendary Thailand striker said, according to the competition’s official website.
“We respect every team but if we can maintain our standards, then we have a chance of winning the title.
“Nonetheless, I don’t want to put any extra pressure on my players.”
Kiatisuk’s sentiments were echoed by War Elephants centre-back Adisorn Promrak, who said: “Even though we have already qualified, the players are hungry to win and play our best for the Thai people.”
If Myanmar are to pull off a real upset on Saturday, coach Radojko Avramovic will need the likes of Kyaw Ko Ko and Kyi Lin to fire against an opposition defence that has not exactly been convincing so far in the tournament.
However, Avramovic claims that he has been satisfied with how his attackers have been doing so far, and it is at the back where he is concerned about.
“We must improve our defence,” the Serb said. “We cannot allow such easy goals like those we conceded [in the 4-2 loss] against Singapore.
“Our players need more international experience but they have to believe in themselves.
“We will try to give Thailand a good game.
“Against Singapore, we were punished for poor defending. The team tried their best [to come back] in the second half but it was already too late.
“I just hope that we continue to have that [fighting] attitude and we are now all playing for our supporters. They have been fantastic, even when we were 3-0 down [against Singapore].”